Annie’s Mailbox – 1.17.12
Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:46 am
By: By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar
The Messenger 01.17.12
Dear Annie: We have five grown children. One of our sons, “Mark,” obtained a contractor’s license and asked to remodel our kitchen and bathroom so he could show his work to potential customers. He said the only cost to us would be for materials, which he estimated to be about $300.
Mark has always been a troubled kid and stubborn to a fault. He especially doesn’t like taking advice or suggestions from others. My husband and I decided to limit his first attempt to the bathroom. We figured the risk would be worth it, because he had asked so little of us in the past. Also, he is a good carpenter and has made some lovely furniture.
You probably already guessed what happened. Mark did a terrible job. He ignored our requests and didn’t do what he said he would, and we were left with some major problems. When we asked for an itemized bill, we got one line: “Total amount due, $400.” After we explained our feelings to him, he walked out and hasn’t spoken to us since. That was two years ago.
After months of having our cards and gifts returned, my husband and I finally decided to leave him alone and hope he will come around. We didn’t invite him for Thanksgiving, as he ruins the holiday for us. Now our daughter is upset, saying she wants him at all the family gatherings. But it’s uncomfortable to be around Mark, because he won’t speak to us. I feel we are being punished for his immaturity. How do we mend this terrible rift? — Sad Mom
Dear Sad: You already know that Mark is difficult and stubborn, and he may never “come around.” Excluding him is one way to make things easier for you. But if you want him to be part of the family, you will have to do the heavy lifting and be very forgiving. Tell Mark that you love him and would like to pretend the bathroom construction never happened, if that’s OK with him. Another suggestion would be to have your other children act as intermediaries to effect a reconciliation or to have family gatherings in their homes instead of yours.
Dear Annie: Through 30 years of marriage, my husband has cheated on me with many different women. I found out a couple of years ago.
At first, I tried to change to please him — my looks, my clothes, my hair, my personal interests — but nothing worked. Once I came to terms with the fact that his “adventures” will not stop and my feelings don’t matter, I decided to plan my departure. When I make my move, it will be with a definite plan, a calm heart and a clear head.
I am working, seeing friends and family, and putting away funds for my future. I still love my husband, but I no longer need him. I have stopped telling others, because the only “support” I get is in the form of others trashing him, telling me what I ought to do or laughing about his ultimate demise. This doesn’t help. Those who want to be supportive can say, “I’m sorry you’re going through this. How are you doing?” That would be much appreciated. — Biding My Time in the South
Dear Biding: Many people believe trashing the ex is supportive, but it often backfires. Thank you for being the Voice of Experience.
Dear Annie: Thank you for encouraging “Road Warrior” to seek the help of Grandma’s doctor, the DMV or the police to get her to stop driving.
My husband’s family didn’t do anything, and the result was a tragedy. Grandpa pulled out on a highway in front of another car. The collision killed both grandparents. While saddened by their deaths, we count our blessings that another life wasn’t lost in the crash, although a young man will live with the memories of an accident he couldn’t prevent. — Don’t Wait Until It Is Too Late
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.